This story originally appeared in the fall/winter 2017 issue of Harker Magazine.
Cindy Ellis has devoted 40 years to Harker, first as a math teacher, then department chair and middle school head. Ellis, who will be retiring at the end of this school year, will leave a lasting legacy of students, colleagues and parents who deeply appreciate her contributions. A native of Watsonville, she and her husband love road trips and the outdoors; they also enjoy their 105-pound mastiff, Roscoe (who’s “mostly drool”). She moves through her job with equal parts sangfroid and gratitude, and she shares some of her philosophy with Harker Magazine.
What is the one thing in the world you would fix if you could wave a magic wand?
I would wish for people to be more empathetic and respectful to each other.
What one piece of advice would you offer anyone who asks?
Always see yourself as part of the bigger picture. Your words and actions have an impact.
What is something you would happily fail at?
I don’t believe in fail – I believe in resilience and moving on to the next idea. Experiences are not “good” or “bad,” they fine-tune our moral compass and deepen our understanding of the world and the people in it.
What is your most treasured memory?
I spent a great deal of time with my great-grandmother as a child. She recounted so many stories about growing up in San Francisco in the late 19th century. The richness of that time with her is something I could never replace.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
I have always wanted to be a great singer. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who can’t carry a tune in a bucket!